Challenge – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

It’s sort of ironic that the theme for this week is Challenge. My biggest challenge lately is finding time to sit down and think about this blog. I spent this week in Toronto. I have not been home for a whole week since Thanksgiving and won’t be home for more than a weekend at least until mid-February. I guess for all of us, time is always the biggest challenge.

Genealogically speaking, however, here’s one of my current challenges. I hope one of you can offer some ideas as to how I can break through this one.

Thomas Morton Higgs was born 11 Jul 1837 in Athens, Limestone County, Alabama, at least according to his granddaughter. On Christmas Day 1857, he married Mary J. Sartain in Athens. She was supposedly from Decatur, Morgan County, Alabama, born 27 Jun 1834.

I have been to the county Archives in both Limestone and Morgan counties and scoured all of their original records. I copied the marriage record straight from the book where it’s recorded. But that’s the first record I can find of either of them.

Now, normally, to find their families, I would think that the 1850 U.S. Census would be a good place to start. I cannot find any Higgs anywhere around, except for the well-documented family of a Charles Higgs, the local sheriff in Limestone County. Likewise, Sartains / Sartins / Certains / etc. are non-existent in northern Alabama. I do found one family that is a potential one for Mary – Alfred Sartain in Tuscaloosa. But, I cannot find any indication that they came north at all.

I’ve searched tax records, land records, estray records, court records, census records – everything that I could find in northern Alabama and the southern counties of Tennessee.

The marriage record says that they were married in the home of William H. Oglesby. Well, I can find him in Athens. Both he and his son, Fountain, are wagon makers. In 1850, William is 43 years old and Fountain is 19. Both are wagon makers. Now, Thomas ends up as a shoe and boot maker, so I don’t know that there is a connection there. I have not found any connection between the Oglesbys and either Higgs or Sartain.

By 1860, Mary and Thomas have moved to Iuka, Tishomingo County, Mississippi where they are found in the home of John Waldrup. Waldrup is also a shoe maker. My hypothesis is that they were in business together, either as partners or one as an apprentice to the other (Thomas to John since John appears the more established one.) But again, I can find no other sort of connection between the Waldrup family and either the Sartain or Higgs families. It seems like it’s just business.

When the Civil War broke out, like so many in the South, Thomas enlisted. He joined Co. E of the 17th Mississippi Infantry. He mustered in on 27 May 1861 at Corinth, Mississippi and signed on for a period of twelve months. He rose to the rank of 4th Sergeant before being discharged on 10 Jan 1862 due to his health. His early discharge was due to “general disability due to pneumonia and erysipelas”, though other records record “pneumonia, rheumatism, etc.”

My grandmother, Mary Higgs Wren, and her sister Lida Higgs Lee, both said that their grandfather had lost his sight during the war, but I have never found any record that would indicate this.

Thomas and Mary’s first child, John William “Will” Higgs, was born 7 April 1859 in Magnolia, Columbia County, Arkansas. How did that happen? Seems like perhaps they had moved to Arkansas and then came back to Mississippi when Thomas decided to enlist. If that were the case, then I would expect to find some sort of family connection in the area for Mary. But, I don’t. On the 1860, William, age 1, is clearly listed as born in Arkansas, as well as in all future records.

By the 1870 census, Thomas and Mary and their two sons (Will and Ira Thomas Higgs) were now in Hempstead County, Arkansas. They were living in the home of a physician, M.C. Boyce, and his wife Nancy. Dr. and Mrs. Boyce and four of their children were all from Alabama, but I’ve not found a connection there. It would appear that they were in Arkansas by 1857. In the home, there appear to be a number of children, as well as perhaps a previously married daughter and her children. The oldest child born in Arkansas was M.R, aged 13. All before that were from Alabama.

The family Bible records that Thomas died on 4 Feb 1875 in Hempstead County, Arkansas at the age of 37. Mary stayed in Hempstead County for a while, but eventually moved to Texarkana, Miller County, Arkansas, where she died 29 Oct 1887. According to my grandmother and my aunt, they were buried in the old cemetery in Washington, Hempstead County, Arkansas. They both remembered visiting the graves many years ago. When we tried to find them again, we found that the highway had been moved. They thought that the road perhaps had been relocated through the old section of the cemetery, where the stones may have been just stones. So the graves are also lost.

In the end the challenge is this: how can I find anything to connect Thomas and Mary to their families? I think that the Higgs folks probably came to northern Alabama from east Tennessee, above Knoxville. But, how would I connect Thomas as a child to one family or another. Likewise for Mary. I find a candidate family in the 1850 census, but I haven’t been able to find any connection between any of the people in that family and any Higgs folks.

There you have it. Is anyone up to this challenge and can help me find these mystery ancestors?

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Finding Granddad’s WWII Records

This post is a shameless plug. But, it’s the real deal. So, stick with me.

This past year, I wanted to find my grandfather, Robert H. Dickson, Jr’s World War II service record. I had sent away for his packet some years back and discovered that it was not available. You might remember there was a terrible fire in St. Louis in 1973 at the records center housing many of the personnel records from the Army and the Marines. I thought that was probably the end of that.

Then, I was watching the live stream from RootsTech last year had heard Jennifer Holik speak. She talked about the fact that, while individuals’ records might have been lost, they could often be reconstructed. The payroll records and unit daily reports, and many others, were still available. She said not to give up. She said that you very likely could find a lot more than you realized. She talked about exactly how to go about searching and reconstructing those records. It sounded really promising to me. (By the way, you can watch her presentation from RootsTech here.)

However, much of this work has to be done on-site in St. Louis, Missouri and then in College Park, Maryland. Maybe not the most convenient, with my crazy travel schedule.

So, I contacted Jennifer at the WWII Research and Writing Center and contracted with her. She is a professional genealogist specializing in military records. She writes, teaches, researches, and councils with people searching for records or, more importantly, the stories of those that served.

Jennifer was able to find the records that detailed exactly where my grandfather was nearly every day for his time in the Army in the Philippines. This came from the unit records, payroll records, and other sorts of records that mentioned Granddad in the St. Louis archives. Then, she combined that with the broader histories and narratives from the units that Granddad served in. This really filled out the story and the experiences that he would have faced while in the field.

The result was an awesome report! I added photos to the report, then had it, the photos, and the unit histories bound and gave a copy to Dad. He was thrilled with this. He said over and over how much Granddad would have loved to have seen it.

Title Page – Robert H. Dickson, Jr’s World War II Service Report

So, my recommendation: if you are curious about your ancestor’s WWII records (or records from WWI, Korea, or Vietnam) and are serious about finding more about their experience, get in touch with Jennifer. Take one of her online classes. Go to one of her talks. Contract with her as a researcher if you feel like it’s out of your depth, or like me, you can’t get to the records. She’s a great resource and writer!

You can find her at http://wwiiresearchandwritingcenter.com. Be sure to take a look.

2019 Resolution Updates

This is a place where I will update my progress against my 2019 genealogy resolutions. Please keep me accountable on these. I have tried to make these S.M.A.R.T. goals. (See the original post for more on that.)

Update Summary

  • 30 Dec 2018 – Updated 2.1 – Inventory of Archival Supplies

1. Community Participation

  1. Participate in 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks for 2019. My schedule is to publish these blogs on Fridays. Update Facebook and Twitter with new posts. Timeframe: all year
  2. Participate in Wordless Wednesdays. My schedule is to publish these on Wednesdays. Update Facebook and Twitter with new posts. Timeframe: all year
  3. Start attending a local genealogical society’s meetings and find a way to get more involved.  Cobb County Genealogy Society may be a good fit. They meet the 4th Tuesday of the month. Timeframe: Attend first meeting in January or February.

2. Archives and Organization

  1. Inventory archival supplies on hand. I know I have a lot of sheet protectors and folders and maybe some empty archival boxes. Timeframe: by 1 Jan 2019
    • Update 30 December 2018
    • Flip top boxes – 2 empty, several only partially full
    • Archival folders – ~70 letter, 100 legal
    • Archival paper envelopes – ~20 5×7, ~50 9×12
    • Sheet protectors – ~200 letter, ~50 legal
    • Photo sheets (assorted) – ~60
    • Archival poly envelopes – 85 4×6, 75 5×7
    • Archival pages – ~60
    • 3 boxes mounting corners
  2. Make sure all documents are in archive folders to protect them. Label folders. Timeframe: at least two boxes per month, starting in January.
  3. Sort photos and documents into boxes grouped by family line. Most are grouped already, but there are several boxes labeled just “Incoming”. Timeframe: at least two boxes per month, starting in January. Concurrent with folders.
  4. Finally scan wedding pictures. It’s only been 22 years. Timeframe: Complete before 28 April 2019 (the anniversary of our engagement).
  5. Settle on an organizational scheme for digital and scanned photos and documents.  I have thus far mostly grouped photos by large family groups, or by who gave them to me.  This isn’t working for many anymore as some of these groups have grown to nearly 2000 images.  This is going to have several sub-steps:
    • Determine folder organization. Timeframe: by 31 March
    • Determine naming scheme. Timeframe: by 31 March
    • Determine scheme for tagging photos and documents for easier searching. Timeframe: by 31 March
    • Select one group for a test and copy it into the new scheme. Timeframe: by 31 May
    • Test for two months to see if it works. Timeframe: by 31 July
    • If successful, apply the scheme to the rest of the documents. Timeframe: by 31 December 2019
  6. Be sure all documents and photos in the closet are actually scanned. This includes rescanning things scanned at low resolutions. Identify people in photos or determine that their identity needs to be researched. Even if the whole workflow isn’t finalized, they can go into the incoming queue. Timeframe: one box per month, starting in April.
  7. Scan Grandmother’s photo album that I never scanned. Timeframe: complete by 28 Feb 2019

3. Research Goals

  1. Secret Project #1 – Timeframe: 31 January
  2. Secret Project #2 – Timeframe: 28 February
  3. Connect with Sartain DNA match from Ancestry to try to find out about Mary J. Sartain. Timeframe: 1 May
  4. Identify lineage societies that I or my family could join. Detail necessary descent. Select one and apply. Timeframe: 30 June
  5. Document and prioritize current list of open research questions. Timeframe: 1 April

Resolution – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

This is week 52 in our 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project for 2018. Time to look back on the year and to look forward into next year.

Resolution is our theme. I thought about taking this as a chance to talk about someone who demonstrated resolve and stalwartness.  I think instead, I will stick to the idea of a Resolution for myself in the new year.

Even though I began this project partway through the year, it has been a great experience.  I look forward each week to putting together a short piece about some ancestor.  But, this has helped me see what in my research needs some attention.  So, I am going to make a few Genealogy Resolutions for the New Year.

I am counting on all of you to help keep me accountable on these and helping me to track my progress. But, I will try to use some of the project management tools we use at work. I just went to Scaled Agile training and thought about that, but it’s too much trouble. I took a look at Trello and am not feeling that, either. So, technology isn’t the way to make this happen. Just Resolve, I guess.

I expect many of us who have ever had to do goal-setting have heard that we need to have S.M.A.R.T. goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Take a look here for more information on S.M.A.R.T. goals. I’m going to stick with that method. I also think that the closer the time horizon is, the more specific the goal needs to be. As you get farther out, you can be a little more nebulous.

I’m going to group these goals into categories. So, here we go:

Community Participation

  • Participate in 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks for 2019. My schedule is to publish these blogs on Fridays. Update Facebook and Twitter with new posts. Timeframe: all year
  • Participate in Wordless Wednesdays. My schedule is to publish these on Wednesdays. Update Facebook and Twitter with new posts. Timeframe: all year
  • Start attending a local genealogical society’s meetings and find a way to get more involved.  Cobb County Genealogy Society may be a good fit. They meet the 4th Tuesday of the month. Timeframe: Attend first meeting in January or February.

Archives and Organization

My archives closet

Just for context, here’s my archive closet. I also have a lateral file in my office, another couple of shelves of books, and another big stack hidden in a window seat. All of the chaos is hidden, but it’s there.

  • Inventory archival supplies on hand. I know I have a lot of sheet protectors and folders and maybe some empty archival boxes. Timeframe: by 1 Jan 2019
  • Make sure all documents are in archive folders to protect them. Label folders. Timeframe: at least two boxes per month, starting in January.
  • Sort photos and documents into boxes grouped by family line. Most are grouped already, but there are several boxes labeled just “Incoming”. Timeframe: at least two boxes per month, starting in January. Concurrent with folders.
  • Finally scan wedding pictures. It’s only been 22 years. Timeframe: Complete before 28 April 2019 (the anniversary of our engagement).
  • Settle on an organizational scheme for digital and scanned photos and documents.  I have thus far mostly grouped photos by large family groups, or by who gave them to me.  This isn’t working for many anymore as some of these groups have grown to nearly 2000 images.  This is going to have several sub-steps:
    • Determine folder organization. Timeframe: by 31 March
    • Determine naming scheme. Timeframe: by 31 March
    • Determine scheme for tagging photos and documents for easier searching. Timeframe: by 31 March
    • Select one group for a test and copy it into the new scheme. Timeframe: by 31 May
    • Test for two months to see if it works. Timeframe: by 31 July
    • If successful, apply the scheme to the rest of the documents. Timeframe: by 31 December 2019
  • Be sure all documents and photos in the closet are actually scanned. This includes rescanning things scanned at low resolutions. Identify people in photos or determine that their identity needs to be researched. Even if the whole workflow isn’t finalized, they can go into the incoming queue. Timeframe: one box per month, starting in April.
  • Scan Grandmother’s photo album that I never scanned. Timeframe: complete by 28 Feb 2019

Research Goals

This is actually the hard part. All the rest of my goals are organizational or about participating. These are the hard research questions. You have to keep doing research in order to have interest in the rest. I think this might be more modest. I have to decide what walls to bang my head against. After thirty years, all you have left are brick walls, I think.

  • Secret Project #1 – Timeframe: 31 January
  • Secret Project #2 – Timeframe: 28 February
  • Connect with Sartain DNA match from Ancestry to try to find out about Mary J. Sartain. Timeframe: 1 May
  • Identify lineage societies that I or my family could join. Detail necessary descent. Select one and apply. Timeframe: 30 June
  • Document and prioritize current list of open research questions. Timeframe: 1 April

So, there it is. Seems sort of aggressive, but it’s time to get things under control. I have been thinking of pursuing certification as a Certified Genealogist in a few years. To do that, I need to get better about my organization and methodology. I am counting on all of you to keep me accountable to these goals. I’ll post updates as I go along as to how I am doing.

Here’s to a great 2019! Happy New Year!
–SCott

John Oliver Brewer, Co. E 1st Arkans. Infantry

I spent thirteen years living in State College, Pennsylvania, right next door to Boalsburg.  In addition to housing possessions from Christopher Columbus, Boalsburg makes another claim to fame.  The tiny little town of Boalsburg is one of several that claim to be the site of the first Memorial Day commemorations.  The graves of fallen Union soldiers were decorated starting in October 1864.  Of course, there are lots of places that claim this honor.  But Boalsburg is the one I am familiar with.  Every year, there is a large Memorial Day commemoration there.

There are many veterans in every generation in my family tree, some in my direct line, some among the uncles, aunts, and cousins.  John Oliver Brewer is one who is almost in my line. John Oliver Brewer was the first husband of my great-great-grandmother, Sarah Louise Council.

John and Sarah married in 1858 in Sebastian County, Arkansas and started a family there. Their first child, a daughter, Mary Angeline Brewer, was born in February 1860 and lived just a few months.  Their second child, a son, Philip Dodridge Brewer, was born in June of 1861.

Northwest Arkansas was a hotbed of border tensions during the Civil War.  Even though it was a part of the Confederacy, there apparently was a large degree of support for the Union in the area.  According to Grandmother Dickson, this led to things being pretty ugly from time to time and to people being pressed into service on one side or the other at the point of a rifle.

In the spring of 1863, on March 10, John Oliver Brewer enlisted in the 1st Arkansas Infantry of the Union Army.  His brother had joined the Union Cavalry already.  John never say service.  After being mustered in at Fort Smith, he went with his unit north to Fayetteville.  Were he caught the measles.  John Oliver Brewer died in hospital in Faytetteville on the 18th of May, 1863, barely two months into his service.  He left his young widow, Sarah, behind with a young son to care for.

Fold3_Page_4_Case_Files_of_Approved_Pension_Applications_of_Widows_and_Other_Dependents_of_Civil_War_Veterans_ca_1861_ca_1910-Brewer, Sarah
Sarah Louise Council Brewer Pension Application, 1864

In 1867, Sarah remarried to Hume Field Bailey and had a substantial family, including my great-grandfather, Charles Council Bailey.  in 1891, Hume died.  In her old age, Sarah again fell back on her status as the widow of a Union veteran who died in service.  She applied again for a pension, after proving that her second husband (Hume) had never served in the Union Army and had certainly never served the Confederacy.  Again she was awarded a small pension to assist in her old age that she continued to receive until her death.

Phil was adopted by Hume and grew up to have a successful career as an attorney.  He was the first commissioner of the Oklahoma State Supreme Court as Oklahoma transitioned from a territory into statehood.

bailey-docs-0232-f-v00
Philip Dodridge Brewer Obituary

In the end, had it not been for John Oliver Brewer’s service with the Union Army, I wouldn’t be here today, I suppose.  I don’t know how he felt about enlisting and serving.  But it seems sort of anticlimactic to be struck down by what we consider now to be a childhood disease while in camp.

 

 

 

Chipping Away at a Dickson Brick Wall – Part 4

Sometimes help comes from unexpected quarters.

In my on-going research on the Dickson family, I have talked off and on to other researchers.  Over the last few weeks, I have been corresponding with another Dickson researcher about my line.  Prior to finding the picture I talked about in the last section, I hadn’t really had a good connection to her line at all.  But, with the firm connection to David Dickson, the wall starts to tumble down.

Ann, the other researcher, told me of a group of Dickson researchers who pooled their efforts a few years back.  A book, compiled by Claire Jean Potter Ferguson Sullivan, Ph. D., came out of those efforts that traces this Dickson family back to about 1607.  As it turns out, this is one of the books that is not only available from the Family History Library, but is available online!!  You can find the FHL library entry and the digital version here.

I am so excited!  Of course, this is a Ronald Reagan moment – trust but verify.  It looks like there is good documentation in this book. Many of the references and documents it uses are included in the text, but it still needs to be analyzed and verified.  I did Y-DNA testing some time back.  Now to see if this plays out with the documentation.

It looks like my line could be:

  • Grandparents – Robert H. Dickson, Jr. (b. 1919, d. 2007) and Susan Louise Bailey (b. 1919, d. 2006)
  • Great-grandparents – Robert H. Dickson, Sr. (b. 1878, d. 1942) and Ethel Mildred Garner (b. 1887, d. 1974)
  • Great-great-grandparents – John H. Dickson (b. 1836, d. bef. 1889) and Martha A. Taylor (b. 1858, d. bef. 1942)
  • 3-great-grandparents – David Dickson (b. 1808) and Eliza Johnson (b. 1812)
  • 4-great-grandparents – Joseph Dickson, Jr. (b. abt. 1785) and Mary McNairy (b. 1791)
  • 5-great-grandparents – Joseph Dickson, Sr. (b. 1744) and Elizabeth Moulton (b. abt 1757)
  • 6-great-grandparents – John Dickson, Sr. (b. abt 1704, County Down, Ireland)
  • 7-great-grandparents – Michael Dickson (b. abt 1682) and Nancy Campbell
  • 8-great-grandparents – Joseph Dickson II (b. abt 1657)
  • 9-great-grandparents – Joseph Dickson I (b. abt 1630)
  • 10-great-grandparents – Simon Dickson (b. abt 1607, England)

It seems like the documentary trail gets fuzzier as you go farther back, but this is at least a good place to start.  And while the book identifies the Dickson line, it also identifies many of the grandmothers and even some of their parents and grandparents.

I feel pretty good about the line back to the immigrants.  They come from Ireland to Chester County, Pennsylvania and then move down into North Carolina.  From there, they head to Tennessee and into Alabama and Mississippi.

Each generation opens up a whole new set of research possibilities.

So, now to start to verify and be confident of all of this new data.  Looks like my work may be cut out for me for the next several months or years.

Chipping Away at a Dickson Brick Wall – Part 2

This is the second in a series where I try to unravel and figure out my Dickson ancestry. I am not necessarily working toward a narrative goal here.  I am mostly capturing my research to be sure that I have a sensible understanding of the family.

In the first part, we started with our most recent known facts and started to work backwards.  We began with my grandfather, Robert Harrison Dickson, Jr, and traced his family and movements backward.

Eventually, we found him in a family as a child with his parents, Robert Harrison Dickson Sr. and Ethel Garner Dickson. Tracing that family back through the census, we found Robert Sr, as a child in the family of his parents, John H. Dickson and Martha A. Dickson.  We stopped at the first census where Robert Sr. appeared – 1880 US Federal Census of Prairie County, Arkansas.

In this post, we will try to round out John H. Dickson’s immediate family a little bit so that we can make some more progress.  We will also identify a possible family of origin for him that we will look at more later on.

On the very first day that I ever went to a library to search in the census, back in 1988, in the 1880 census, I found John H. Dickson and his young family in Bridge Bend Township, Prairie County, Arkansas.  We identify the family because we find Robert H. Dickson Sr, his brother Cecil, and his sister Minnie in the household.  The 1880 census is important because it gives two new pieces of information not found on previous censuses.  First, it shows the relationship of a person to the head of household.  Second, it shows where a person’s parents were born.  Robert, Cecil, and Minnie are listed as children of John, so we know for sure at least who their father is.  We are pretty sure of the mother, but the proof is not quite as solid yet. 1

1880 US Census - Dickson2
1880 US Federal Census, Bridge Bend Township, Prairie County, Arkansas

This census reports that John H. Dickson was born in Alabama, his father was born in Tennessee, and his mother was born in Virginia.  His wife, Martha, reports that she was from Alabama.  The two older children (Robert and his brother Cecil) were born in Mississippi and the youngest child (Minnie) was born in Arkansas.  The information on the children fits what we already know, so we are confident we are looking at the right family.

The oldest child is 4 years old, indicating a birth in about 1876.  If we look for marriage records, we find a record in a database of Mississippi marriages for J.H. Dickson to Martha A. Taylor on 12 Sept 1872 in Desoto County, Mississippi. 2  This fits with where Robert H. Dickson Sr. reported that he was born, so we are fairly certain this is the right marriage.  But it also tells us that we will not find the couple together in the 1870 Census.  Instead, we will have to look for each of them (John and Martha) as children in homes of thieir parents or else as individuals or else as parts of other families.  John’s age indicates that he could have had a previous marriage; Martha’s age indicates that a previous marriage is unlikely for her.

Searching the census for a family where John H. Dickson, born about 1836 in Alabama, perhaps with parents from Tennessee and Virginia, we find one family that is a good fit.  In 1870, in Desoto County, Mississippi, we find the family of David Dickson with a number of children. 3  This appears to be our most likely candidate family.  In fact, it seems like the only one we find in a census search that comes very close.  However it has its own issues that we will need to work through.

1870 US Census - Dickson
1870 US Federal Census, Township 5R7,  DeSoto County, Mississippi

In particular, the way the surnames are reported looks a little odd.  Typically, when a line or ditto marks are shown, that means that the surname is the same as the one above.  If that were the case for this entry, then we would expect this family to be David and Eliza Dickson, Mary E. Williams, John H. Williams and a number of other Williams folks.  We might think that John must be Mary’s husband from this or a brother in a different family.  So, it’s a confusion that we need to work through.  Our initial suspicion is that Mary is in fact Mary Williams, but the ditto marks for the rest of the family refer to Dickson rather than Williams.  That would mean that she probably was a daughter who married and is now listed back in this family rather than in her own family.  So, we will look further and come back to see if this holds up.

Stepping back one more census, to 1860, we again look for John H. either in his own family, his parents family, or somewhere else.  When we look again at David Dickson / Dixon, we find his family, along with John, in Leake County, Mississippi, in the center of the state rather than the north of the state. 4  In this family, David and his wife Eliza and John are all consistent.  The children change somewhat, but they appear to be consistent with the later census.  John is listed out of order from the rest of the children, presumably because he is old enough to be on his own, so is considered by the census taker separately from minor children.

1860 US Census - Dickson
1860 US Federal Census, Carthage, Leake County, Mississippi

If we take one more step back in the census, to 1850, we find John as a child in the home of David and Eliza again. 5  At this point, they are located in Marengo County, Alabama about 140 miles east of Carthage, their location in 1860.

At this point, it might be valuable to summarize the family across the censuses.  The following table shows the individuals in David and Eliza’s household across the census years, along with ages and birth places.

Name 1850 Census
Marengo, Ala.
1860 Census
Leake, Miss.
1870 Census
DeSoto, Miss.
1880 Census
David Dickson 42, Tennessee 52, Tennessee 62, Tennessee
Eliza 38, Virginia 48, Virginia 58, Virginia (in the home of J.F. Pardue, Tate, Miss.)
60, Alabama
Mary 14, Alabama (Mary E.Williams)
35, Alabama
(Mary Gates, in home of A.J. Gates,
Lonoke, Ark.)
44, Alabama
John 12, Alabama 22, Alabama 32, Alabama (Prairie, Ark.)
44, Alabama
Lucinda 8, Alabama 18, Alabama
Frances 5, Mississippi 15, Mississippi 25, Mississippi
Ann 3, Alabama (Hester A.)
13, Alabama
(Hester Ann)
22, Alabama
William 8, Alabama 18, Alabama (W.A.,
Tate, Miss.)
29, Alabama
Lucy A. 5, Alabama 15, Alabama (L.A. Pardue,
Tate, Miss.)
25, Alabama

As we mentioned before, the 1870 census is interesting in that a large number of young children are listed, all born in Mississippi.  These appear to be the children of Mary  E. Williams.   The oldest is 13 years old and the youngest is 7 years old.  This could put some brackets around a possible date for when she and her husband were no longer together and give us a way to search for what happened to him.  There is also a 63 year old woman, Lucy Vaugh, born in Virginia in the home.  A theory would be that she could be Mary’s older sister.  This is worth pursuing.

All of this is pretty good circumstantial evidence that John H. Dickson, my ancestor, is a part of this family.  The census isn’t iron-clad proof, though.  And I still don’t have anything that says “David is John’s father” or “John is David’s son.”  I’m close though.

In the next post, I will share a picture that tied this together, at least to my satisfaction, and can let me move on to the next step.


  1. 1880 US Federal Census, Prairie County, Arkansas, pop. sch., Bridge Bend Township, ED 247, page 211, dwelling 218, family 218, John H. Dickson. 
  2. Ancestry.com, “Mississippi Marriages, 1776-1935,” database, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 26 May 2012), J.H. Dickson to Martha Taylor, 11 Dec 1872, Desoto County. 
  3. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Desoto County, Mississippi, pop. sch., Township 5 R 7, page 52, dwelling 365, family 365, David Dickson. 
  4. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Leake County, Mississippi, pop. sch., Carthage post office, page 67, dwelling 426, family 426, David Dixon. 
  5. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Marengo County, Alabama, pop. sch., Not stated, page 44, dwelling 304, family 304, David Dickson.